The Tabernacle Choir Blog

World-Renowned Conductor Robert Shaw and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir

In the early 1980s the Choir was invited to perform with Robert Shaw at the Grand Teton Festival in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Choir director Gerald Ottley found out that Shaw had heard recent recordings and broadcasts and had a favorable opinion of the Choir. Ottley remembered, "We had a wonderful experience with him. . . . He came in and did a wonderful job. We had a great experience together.”

Shaw was born in Red Bluff, California in 1916. He founded the Collegiate Choir in 1941 followed by the Robert Shaw Chorale in 1948. He was named the music director of the San Diego Symphony in 1953, where he served for four years. He also mentored many young conductors during his lengthy career and became known as the "dean" of American choral conductors.

Shaw returned to conduct the Choir in 1997 for an episode of Music and the Spoken Word. The all-Brahms music program also included Shaw delivering the spoken word message himself. Other than rare occasions requiring a substitute, this may have been the only time the message was delivered by someone other than the regular announcer. 

Shaw died in 1999, three weeks before he was scheduled to conduct the Choir in his English adaptation of the BrahmsRequiem. The Choir, which was then led by Craig Jessop, dedicated their performance to Shaw.

Below is a video of the Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square performing, “How Lovely Is Thy Dwelling Place” from Requiem by Johannes Brahms.